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The 68 Best '80s Movies Ever Made

An official ranking of the decade's standout films.

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Shutterstock + Everett

Popular culture is obsessed with the '80s—Stranger Things, anyone?—and it's not hard to see why. The '80s were a golden decade in film, boasting classic films that you'll have seen on multiple occasions even if you were a '90s or '00s baby. Dirty Dancing, Footloose, E.T...so many of our golden coming-of-age films were born in the '80s, and have proven themselves to be timeless classics in the decades since. It's hard to resist a walk down memory lane, especially when the movies are this freaking good. So we combed through every single movie from the 1980s to bring you this list of the decade's best films, counting all the way down from 68 to number 1 (don't @ me about that one, I'm right). At the very least, you should make sure you've seen the top ten.

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TriStar Pictures
1 of 68
‘Short Circuit’ (1986)

Short Circuit follows a robot named Number 5 on its journey from research facility to the real world. Although this comic sci-fi didn’t earn E.T.-level hype, its solid cast (Brian McNamara and Fisher Stevens, among others) and lovable plot makes it one of the decade’s most memorable films.

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Warner Bros.
2 of 68
‘Ladyhawke’ (1985)

Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick star in this romantic fantasy that, surprisingly, has no relation to 2018’s Lady Bird. Set in medieval France, LadyHawke tells the story of a pickpocket and a knight on a journey to find love and defeat evil.

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Universal
3 of 68
'An American Werewolf in London' (1981)

This British-American comedy-horror is a classic and worth a re-watch for the dated transformation scene alone.

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Columbia Pictures
4 of 68
‘Tootsie’ (1982)

Jessica Lange snagged the 1983 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Tootsie, which tells the story of Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), a failing New York actor who sets out to reinvent himself.

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United Artists
5 of 68
‘Baby Boom’ (1987)

Diane Keaton plays a New York businesswoman who is forced to drop everything (job and relationship included) when an unexpected death leaves her the caretaker of a baby girl. Directed by Nancy Myers (who went on to make The Parent Trap, The Holiday, and The Intern), Baby Boom has all the makings of a classic ‘80s movie: gendered roles, slapstick humor, and shoulder pads.

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Warner Bros.
6 of 68
'The Lost Boys' (1987)

Long before Twilight or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this comedy-horror film updated vampires for the modern age in an edgy and innovative way.

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Warner Bros.
7 of 68
‘Better Off Dead’ (1985)

John Cusack plays an offbeat teen who grapples with his girlfriend (Amanda Wyss) unexpectedly dumping him. Although Better Off Dead received mix reviews, the film is still a favorite of die-hard Cusack fans.

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Paramount
8 of 68
'Trading Places' (1983)

Trading Places offers biting commentary on the wealth gap and corruption on Wall Street that's still relevant today. Oh, and it's certifiably hilarious, too.

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Warner Bros.
9 of 68
'Gremlins' (1984)

This horror-comedy classic expertly mixed cute and creepy. Plus, it inspired multiple generations of dog owners to dub their pets "Gizmo," which is is iconic.

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Paramount Pictures
10 of 68
‘Friday the 13th’ (1980)

Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th tells the story of five camp counselors who are stalked and murdered by a merciless killer. The film has since become a cult-classic and spawned an entire horror franchise (which include a whopping 12 films).

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TriStar Pictures
11 of 68
‘Steel Magnolias’ (1989)

Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, and Dolly Parton team up in this much-loved comedy drama. Steel Magnolias will make you laugh and cry and is definitely worthy of a re-watch during a nostalgic binge.

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Paramount Pictures
12 of 68
‘Beverly Hills Cop’ (1984)

Eddie Murphy as Detroit detective Alex Foley in Beverly Hills Cop made for a classically ’80s (and objectively hilarious) cult favorite. The movie went on to win the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture and snagged both Golden Globes and Academy Award nominations.

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New Line Cinema
13 of 68
'The Evil Dead' (1981)

Sam Raimi's cult classic horror movie The Evil Dead is a cult classic that changed the landscape of scary movies for years to come.

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Shutterstock
14 of 68
‘The Color Purple’ (1985)

Directed by Steven Speilberg and based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Price-winning novel, The Color Purple was easily one of the decade’s best films. With a first-class ensemble (including Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey) and a deeply emotional script, this 1985 production was an all-around win.

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15 of 68
'Hannah and Her Sisters' (1986)

One of Woody Allen's first majorly successful films, Hannah and Her Sisters focuses on the complex relationship between Hannah (Mia Farrow), her sisters Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest), and her husband Elliot (Michael Caine).

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16 of 68
'Raging Bull' (1980)

Undeniably one of Martin Scorsese's best, Raging Bull features Robert De Niro as a tumultuous, but lovable, boxer.

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17 of 68
'Broadcast News' (1987)

James L. Brooks's 1987 film told the story of two rival TV
reporters and a producer.

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18 of 68
'Aliens' (1986)

Who could watch Alien without being completely and utterly captivated by Sigourney Weaver as badass Ripley?

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19 of 68
'Crimes and Misdemeanors' (1989)

Another Woody Allen hit, Crimes and Misdemeanors features Martin Landau, Mia Farrow, and Anjelica Huston, and it was nominated for three Academy Awards.

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20 of 68
'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' (1989)

Equal parts ridiculous and hilarious, Bill and Ted are two airheads with a time-traveling mission to save the future. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter made for a super endearing, totally '80s flick.

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TriStar Pictures
21 of 68
'Labyrinth' (1986)

It simply does not get more '80s than David Bowie in Labyrinth. His character is everything you need to know about the decade in a single costume.

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22 of 68
'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' (1982)

Based on Cameron Crowe's book, Fast Times at Ridgemont High gifted us a young Sean Penn and an undeniably hilarious plot.

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23 of 68
'The Thing' (1982)

Call us wimps, but John Carpenter's The Thing is still frightening to this day.

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Warner Bros.
24 of 68
'Full Metal Jacket' (1987)

This Stanley Kubrick film about the Vietnam War received critical praise and an Academy Award nomination on its release and the iconic poster is still a dorm room decor staple years later.

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25 of 68
'Blue Velvet' (1986)

David Lynch's haunting mystery tells the story of Jeffrey, (Kyle MacLachlan) who after finding a severed human ear, is set on a dramatic, albeit entertaining, journey.

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26 of 68
'Platoon' (1986)

Before Charlie Sheen was, well, Charlie Sheen, he stole America's hearts as Chris, the young recruit in Vietnam. Combined with actors like Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, and even Johnny Depp, Platoon was an all-around hit.

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27 of 68
'Working Girl' (1988)

Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, and Sigourney Weaver make for a hilarious, but totally moving, story of success and loss.

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28 of 68
'Can't Buy Me Love' (1987)

Real talk: We'd go out with Patrick Dempsey for free, let alone one thousand dollars. Dempsey's too-cute role as nerdy Ronald Miller automatically made Can't Buy Me Love one of our favorites.

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29 of 68
'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (1981)

The first of the epic Indian Jones franchise, Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark certainly didn't disappoint. Anyone who was able to come out of the film not in love with Harrison Ford as Indy was straight-up crazy.

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30 of 68
'Weird Science' (1985)

Arguably one of John Hughes's best, Weird Science follows two high school outcasts in their attempt to create the perfect woman.

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